The Guild show is looming and a real challenge is to price the final product. Producing everything is usually accomplished slowly, over several months; it accumulates in boxes and bags, then suddenly you realize the shows are upon you and you now have to price ALL this material! There are lots of discussions on-line and at meetings about competitive pricing in the arts and crafts community. We don’t want to undersell ourselves or price ourselves out of the market. We don’t want to be ‘greedy’ or foolishly inexpensive. Hand spun yarn is very fiber dense, very heavy when compared to factory spun yarn. So a hand knit scarf of hand spun yarn is going to weight more than one from commercial yarn. The benchmarks don’t apply.
But first you have to have a price, for that you need to measure and weight your products. The decision on what to charge is really difficult, but I search on-ine for hand-spun yarn of similar grist, similar fiber content, weight, etc, etc and see if I’m comfortable charging a similar price.
I was fortunate to find a tiny scale that weights from 1000g to .01g. It can be re-calibrated if I have a true weight of 1000g. I’ll look into getting one later this year. This is the only scale I’ve found that can weigh minuscule amounts of silk and cashmere.
The scale weighs in both metric and imperial on the fly, I just have to change the configuration.
So I don’t have to change the position of the fiber and can write the weight on the label right away.
Second I have a voice response computer to convert from imperial to metric and do math so I can keep working with labelling. Google is my friend.
And third, I have a yarn measuring device to measure the length of a specific diameter of yarn. This is the best thing to come my way in ages.
I can set the wraps/inch, mount the skein on the umbrella swift, start winding the yarn onto the niddy noddy and when I’m done the yarn measuring device shows how many yards or meters I have. When I want to convert to meters or yards, I use the voice activation on my computer to do the switch and its all done.
This skein is 20 wraps per inch
There is a plastic card included with the yarn measurer to check the wraps so you can set the device
The viewing screen is very clear and very easy to use.
Admittedly neither the scale nor the yarn measuring device perfectly accurate, the client gets more from both and that’s fine with me.
But the bottom line is to find what both you and the market will bear. We are in a unique position to negotiate with clients who come to our booths, to explain our products and discuss their needs. Pricing is more flexible at the guild sale and if this year looks like its a tough one for clients we can choose to be more willing to negotiate, or not. I will be more confident with my pricing decision once I get to the sale.